Syrian army shoots down dozens of Israeli missiles: state media


It said Israeli warplanes were firing the rockets from outside Syria's borders and targeting Baath City in Quneitra province. A number of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, resulting in bright and sudden explosions.

The military has said, however, that it put its forces in occupied Golan Heights on high alert following "irregular activity" by Iranian military forces in Syria.

"At approximately 12.10, 10 minutes past midnight, forces belonging to the Iranian Quds Force fired approximately 20 projectiles - a lot of them are probably rockets but that is yet to be determined - towards the forward line of IDF positions in the Golan Heights", he said. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, often seen as the face of Iran's regional ambitions.

In addition, a month ago, Israel launched an airstrike on Syria's T-4 air base, which is believed to be home to an advanced Iranian air-defense system.

On Tuesday, the Syrian army repelled the alleged Israeli missile strikes near the settlement of Al-Kiswah, the Syrian television reported citing a military source.

In an interview with Israeli news site YNet, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said the government's strategy was "to get Iran out of Syria without starting a war".

On Thursday (NZ time) approximately 20 projectiles were fired at the Israeli targets.

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Tensions between Israel and Iran are high over Iran's efforts to expand its military presence in Syria, where the Iranians are a key ally of President Bashar Assad.

Iran has accused Israel of being behind deadly missile strikes in April against what it called Iranian "advisers" stationed in Syria.

As Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump's move to pull out of the nuclear deal - much as he did the president's other unilateral move (to relocate the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), the country's military signaled that it is on high alert. Israel did not comment on the strikes.

Israeli media said Tuesday's order to prepare bomb shelters on the Golan was unprecedented during Syria's civil war.

On Wednesday morning, the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, visited the Golan Heights to meet with military and civilian leaders on the IDF's assessment of the situation.

Thursday's flare-up came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from a visit to Moscow, where he discussed Syria concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We are located here facing Syria and Lebanon and this is the reality which we will overcome together, especially with the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)", said Alex Gudish, a Golan settler.